FAIR HAVEN — Construction work began earlier this week on a new gravel road that will bypass a faulty bridge along the Castleton River.
Crews with Markowski Excavating of Florence started working Monday morning to construct the new 440-foot road that will connect the southern side of the Deport Street bridge and River Street. The road will come out between 29 River St. and 31 River St.
“I am really happy,” said interim Town Manager William Humphries on Tuesday. “The business owners (near the bridge) are very happy.”
According to project engineer Steve Diglio with KAS Inc., the total construction of the road is about three weeks, but it will be weather dependent as winter starts up. He said they hope have the road completed by the end of the year or before winter shut down.
“We are hoping to have the gravel bypass in place before Christmas,” he said Tuesday. “When spring comes in, we will put in the final touches.”
Diglio said they had to redesign the road to accommodate some concerns made by the company that operates the rail line. He said the current design is much better than before.
The road bid worth $58,066.55 was awarded to Markowski Excavating last week. Upon completion of the project, the total cost is estimated to be between $150,000 to $200,000, Diglio said. This cost includes costs of easements and right-of-way purchases.
The gravel road is expected to save the town up to $480,000.
“It seems to be a win-win for everyone,” Humphries said.
The need for the new road began in October when Diglio told town officials that it would be more cost-effective to construct a completely new bridge instead of rehabilitating the existing Depot Street bridge. The recommendation came as a surprise to town officials especially that the cost of a new bridge was estimated to be $530,000 to $630,000.
“Some people thought we were moving slowly (to start the new road),” Humphries said, “but in reality we have been moving very quickly.”
“The property owners were great,” he added. “Everyone understood the benefit to the town.”
Diglio said he believes a portion of a $175,000 grant by the state’s Town High Structures Program the town received will be able to pay for the majority of the project. Meanwhile, the town using reserve funds to pay for the project.
Once the new road is completed, Depot Street bridge is going to be closed to vehicular traffic, though town officials are considering making it into a pedestrian bridge at some point.
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